News National US man admits shipping guns to Australia

US man admits shipping guns to Australia

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A US man has pleaded guilty to illegally shipping guns to an Australian weapons dealer using a crate with a secret compartment to fool customs officials.

The Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin man Andy Huebschmann, of New Holstein, admitted in federal court to sending the Australian dealer pistols, rifles and rifle parts to convert semi-automatic guns into fully automatic weapons.

Huebschmann owns Germantown-based Thureon Defense and is licensed to manufacture and deal guns.

He allegedly met Victorian Paul Munro at a Las Vegas gun trade show about seven years ago, and Munro persuaded him to ship him Thureon guns. Huebschmann didn’t have export licences for the shipments.

Huebschmann faces up to 20 years in prison.

Munro, 65, was originally ordered to serve at least six years behind bars for importing a dozen Thureon machine guns, capable of firing 1000 rounds a minute.

But on May 14, the Victorian Court of Appeal revealed it had increased his non-parole period to 11 years.

The maximum 10-year sentence handed down by the County Court last May was also increased to 15 years after the appeal by prosecutors.

Munro pleaded guilty to four weapon-importing charges and two attempted importing charges.

He successfully imported a dozen of the Thureon machine guns and had tried to import another six despite knowing police in Melbourne had seized guns three times between April 2014 and January 2016.

Munro arranged false-bottom crates to hide the import.

The judges said Munro’s offending demanded a substantially higher sentence than the one originally imposed.

Prosecutors had argued the sentence was manifestly inadequate, given the maximum available was 60 years.

They described the guns imported by Munro as “mass killing machines” that had the ongoing capacity to kill people in great numbers.